Many years ago, Research In Motion was one of the best in the business when it came to synchronizing user data between the PC and the BlackBerry. This was all done via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the BlackBerry network operations center (NOC). Emails, memos, calendar items and contacts were just some of the things that RIM synchronized from a Microsoft Outlook environment on a desktop, over to the BlackBerry.
But today, I think it's fair to say that RIM has fallen behind in its use of cloud technology. It's not all about large enterprise users anymore. Small businesses and consumers want the benefits of cloud synchronization too.
Let's look at how Apple tackles this problem. They have iCloud, which keeps emails, text messages, calendar items, and all sorts of data and media synchronized across multiple devices. Across Macs and iOS devices, it's all built in. And for Windows users, they've created the iCloud control panel.
Aside from an overwhelming sense that Apple's iMessage platform seems to be horribly unreliable, the concept (and general experience with) iCloud seems fantastic. This is what people want.
I'm not a Microsoft Windows user anymore. So I'm not totally up to speed on what they offer, but it seems pretty obvious that between Windows Phone 8 mobile devices and the desktop / notebook product line, Microsoft can do exactly the same thing here.
RIM is different because they have no traditional desktop computing business. So they can't integrate the RIM cloud experience into a desktop OS at all. But that doesn't mean they can't offer a good experience to desktop users, and keep us hooked on BlackBerry products.
Details are sparse at this point, but we are seeing some signs that a revamped desktop client is coming, called BlackBerry Link. I hope they come up with a more creative name, but that's a secondary issue.
I think RIM needs a super high quality dashboard experience to tie the desktop (and notebook) PC or Mac to the BlackBerry 10 world. BlackBerry users should be able to access BBM (and BBM voice and video) from a regular computer. BlackBerry users need an integrated way to share files and data across multiple devices.
Some will argue with me and say that we're in a post PC world. They'll say we should ignore the legacy world of a PC operating system and focus only on the mobile computing market.
I disagree. Sure, one day a platform like BlackBerry 10 may function so well that I don't need a laptop or desktop. I'll just need a big monitor and a way to connect my mobile device to that screen (and keyboard, and mouse). But I think that day long off. The application ecosystem on something like BlackBerry 10 is very immature at this point. It's going to be a long time before a mobile computer gives me tools equivalent to what I have today on my Macbook Pro.
So here's what I'd like to ask CrackBerry readers. What data would you like to be able to share between your BlackBerry and your PC that you currently can't easily share? In other words, what do you feel is sorely lacking from BlackBerry Desktop Manger today that needs to be fixed in a BlackBerry 10 world?